Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
How would you like a shrink to take a look at your Twitter feed, then send the men in white coats to dress you in a straightjacket?
If “medical professional” Dr. Bandy X. Lee has her way, that’s what will happen to President Trump. Lee told Salon (of course):
As a coworker, [Nancy Pelosi] has the right to have him submit to an involuntary evaluation, but she has not. Anyone can call 911 to report someone who seems dangerous, and family members are the most typical ones to do so. But so can coworkers, and even passersby on the street. The law dictates who can determine right to treatment, or civil commitment, and in all 50 U.S. states this includes a psychiatrist … I am beginning to believe that a mental health hold, which we have tried to avoid, will become inevitable.
If Lee’s bizarre name sounds familiar, she is the one who edited a compendium of fanciful speculation called “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President”.
Where to begin unpacking the lunacy here? Let’s start with: doctors aren’t supposed to diagnose a patient they have not personally examined. It’s a staggering violation of common sense, if not medical ethics (that’s hotly debated when it comes to public figures).
Not only that, broadcasting a medical evaluation of a person without their consent is just bananas. Imagine if your doctor went on the news and said: “John Smith has bipolar disorder, so he shouldn’t be operating a forklift.” You’d sue him into a tent on skid row.
Doctors’ opinions are given special weight in our society because of their expertise. In return, they are required to keep to a rigorous set of standards and privacy safeguards to prevent abuses. I can’t imagine a universe in which Lee isn’t way over that line. Quibble all you want, but this is b***s***.
I freely admit I have never had a high opinion of the psychiatric profession. In my experience, they stand adjacent to witch doctors, but with God complexes. That Lee still has her medical license after her public bout of hysteria removes the last shred of respect I will ever have for these folks. I don’t understand how the medical profession haven’t dog-piled her in an effort to shut her mouth before she discredits them all and shreds patient trust.
The Salon article notes:
[Lee] was recently joined by psychiatrists across the country in calling for the Judiciary Committee to convene a panel of mental health experts to weigh in on the ongoing impeachment proceedings.
Get that? Forget the ivory-tower law professors telling Congress what to do. Now *psychiatrists* will tell Congress what to do. Rule by professionals, y’all! Who’s above the law again? Because it sounds like medical experts are getting there.
I doubt she is aware, but Lee’s suggestion is much like what happened in communist Russia. Politicians who stepped out of the party line were committed to psychiatric facilities until they got their Marx straight and “recovered.” In the meantime, they were drugged, isolated, subjected to electro-shock therapy, and physically abused.
Most likely, Lee’s doing all this because of some underlying craving for attention (See? I can psychoanalyze too!). She probably wants a reality TV show–to become the shrink equivalent of Judge Judy. This is just her ethically dubious road to her dream job: “Real Shrinks of Yale.”
Nothing is going to happen from her grandstanding. But Lee is not some isolated crank, and the door she has opened should concern us all. A raft of psychiatrists at prestigious institutions are dancing in Lee’s demented drum circle, yet the professional organizations and universities who employ them don’t seem to care.
We can expect to see more of this going forward, And not just with the president. Why n0t force Supreme Court justices we don’t like to have a mental health check? That would be an easy way to get rid of Justice Kavanaugh, wouldn’t it? Why not the vice president? Plenty of people think voting Republican is a certifiable mental illness, so why not every conservative elected official?
Doctors are supposed to treat people, not act as the Harry Potter Sorting Hat for our elected officials. The government is supposed to regulate the medical profession, not the other way around.